The Fire and Rescue Services (NI) Order 2006 (The Order) came into effect on 15 November 2010.
It replaced and simplified previous fire legislation in non-domestic premises by using a
modern risk based approach to fire prevention.
It means that any person who has some level of control in premises must take reasonable
steps to reduce risk from fire and make sure people can safely escape if there is a fire.
The introduction of The Fire & Rescue Services (NI) Order 2006 and The Fire Safety Regulations (NI)
2010 saw the repeal of The Fire Services (NI) Order 1984 and consequently the requirement for certification.
The new Order came into force on 15 November 2010 and as such, existing Fire Certificates ceased to have effect from that date.
If a fire risk assessment for the premises has been carried out under the Fire Precautions (Workplace)
Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2001 and this assessment has been regularly reviewed, then all that is
required is a revision of that assessment taking into account the wider scope of the new legislation
as described in the guidance documents.
- Offices and shops
- Premises that provide care, including care homes and hospitals
- Pubs, clubs and restaurants
- Places of worship
- Educational establishments including schools
- Theatres and cinemas
- Sports centres and other community premises
- Hotels and hostels
- Guests houses and bed & breakfast accommodation
- Shared areas of properties common to several households
- Houses of multiple occupation
- Factories and warehouses
- Tents and marquees
- Transport premises and facilities
- Animal premises and stables
- Open air events and venues
A Fire Risk Assessment can be defined as an organised and methodical look at premises,
the activities carried out there and the likelihood that a fire could start and cause harm
to those in and around the premises.
Whilst there are no fixed rules about how a fire risk assessment should be carried out,
it is nonetheless important to adopt a structured approach that ensures all significant
risks are addressed.
The answer is more than likely yes! Any premises used for business or by voluntary
organisations come under The Order.
It will mean significant changes to the ways in which employers and people in control
of premises are required to manage fire safety. Responsibility for fire safety in the
workplace now clearly rests with the employer and those with any degree of control of premises.
Articles 25 and 26 explain who has a duty to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment:
- If you are an employer you shall carry out an assessment of your workplace
- If you own a premises in which you carry out a business, whether for profit or not, you shall carry out an assessment
- If you occupy a premises by reason of a contract or tenancy you shall carry out an assessment
In many cases, those with the responsibility for premises are likely to be best placed to maintain
fire safety precautions and understand and address the risk to lives and property that a fire could present.
Under The Order, the duty to carry out and implement a fire risk assessment lies with the appropriate person.
Achieving fire safety is often a matter of common sense, and in many cases there may be no need for specialist
or formal knowledge or training, providing the appropriate person makes enough time available to go through
all the necessary steps.
In carrying out a risk assessment, however, the appropriate person may decide that, given the nature of the
premises or the people involved, they do not have the necessary competence to discharge their duties under
The Order. In that case, they could choose to appoint one or more competent persons to assist him/her. The
level of necessary competence is not prescribed in The Order, which recognises that the extent of competency
will vary according to the nature and complexity of the premises involved.
It is generally considered that for fire risk assessment to be suitable and sufficient the person responsible
should follow the elements of the five step approach.
Responsibility for complying with The Order rests with the 'appropriate person'. In a workplace, this is the
employer and any other person who may have control of any part of the premises, eg, the manager or owner.
In all other premises the person or people in control of the premises will be responsible. If there is more
than one appropriate person in any type of premises (eg, a multi-occupied complex), then they must all take
reasonable steps to co-operate and co-ordinate with each other.
A relevant person means any person (including the appropriate person) who is or may be on the premises, and,
any person in the immediate vicinity of the premises who is at risk from a fire on the premises.
A competent person is someone with sufficient training and experience or knowledge, and other qualities, to
enable them to implement the appropriate fire safety measures.
The level of competence is not prescribed in The Order/Regulations, which recognise that the extent of
competency required will vary according to the nature and complexity of the premises involved.
When complying with fire safety duties, under Regulation 17(7), an employer shall use a competent person
in his employment to assist him, in preference to a competent person not in his employment.
You should keep your fire risk assessment under regular review as risks may change over time.
If you make changes to your premises, you should ensure that the assessment and risk management plan remains current.
If you share a building with others, you will need to co-ordinate your risk management plan with them.
If your plan changes as a result of a review or changes you made to your premises over time, you will
need to share the revised risk management plan with others who share the premises.
A relevant Notice is any Notice issued by an enforcing authority which is required by the Environment and
Safety Information (NI) Order 1993 to be entered into a public register of Notices.
Under The Fire and Rescue Services (NI) Order 2006 there are three relevant Notices. These are an Enforcement
Notice, an Alterations Notice and a Prohibition Notice.
An Enforcement Notice is a document which is sent to the appropriate person stating that the enforcing authority
(Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service) is of the opinion that there has been a failure to comply with any
provision of The Fire and Rescue Services (NI) Order 2006 or of any regulations made under it.
The Notice shall specify why the appropriate person has failed to comply with the duty in question.
An Alterations Notice is a document which is sent to the appropriate person stating that the enforcing authority
(Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service) is of the opinion that the premises constitute, or may constitute, a
risk to relevant persons if a change is made to them or the use to which they are put.
Where a Notice has been served the appropriate person must notify the enforcing authority if any changes are
subsequently proposed for the premises.
A Prohibition Notice is a document which is sent to the appropriate person stating that the enforcing authority
(Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service) is of the opinion that use of the premises involves, or will involve,
a risk to relevant persons so serious that use of the premises ought to be completely prohibited or partly restricted.
The Notice shall specify the matters which give rise, or will give rise, to the risk.
If you appeal an Enforcement or Alterations Notice it will suspend the Notice until the appeal has been finally disposed
of, or the appeal has been withdrawn. This will provide three possible outcomes:
- The Notice may be cancelled - (the Notice is not in force)
- The Notice may be affirmed - (the Notice must be complied with)
- The Notice may be affirmed with modifications - (comply with the amended version)
A Prohibition Notice is different in that on an appeal the Notice will remain in force unless the court directs the
suspending of the Notice. The court may cancel or affirm the Notice with the same outcomes as for the Enforcement and
Alterations Notice above.
NIFRS will enter current Notices on the Public Register section of NIFRS' website.
Entries shall be kept in the register for a period of 3 years.
Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) is required under The Order to audit relevant premises within
local areas to ensure compliance with the requirements of The Order and that adequate fire safety measures are in place.
In addition, NIFRS has a duty to provide fire safety advice when requested.
In delivering its audit and enforcement duties, NIFRS is expected to act openly and in proportion to the identified
risk and, wherever possible, to allow the appropriate person a reasonable timeframe in which to implement any fire safety improvement.
NIFRS will be the enforcing authority in respect of the majority of premises and will visit premises to ensure compliance with
fire safety law. NIFRS will achieve this by an appropriate risk based inspection programme.
Further guidance on managing fire safety for smaller premises is available in our booklet Make Sure You're Fire Safe - A Short
Guide To Making Your Premises Safe From Fire.
Individual guides for larger or more complicated premises are available from the Communities and Local Government section of our website.
If you are unhappy with the way the inspection has been conducted, or wish to make a complaint concerning any aspect of an inspection,
you can contact:
ASSISTANT CHIEF FIRE OFFICER
(DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT)
Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service
1 Seymour Street
or alternatively further guidance is available within the Complaints Section of the NIFRS website.